Laptop requirements

CCS Laptop Requirements

The following departments have a personal laptop computer requirement for incoming students in the 2016-17 academic year:

  • Communication Design (Graphic Design)
  • Advertising: Design 
  • Advertising: Copywriting 

Other CCS departments do not have a requirement at this time; inquire with your department for technology recommendations specific to your major.

  1. Computer Specifications

  2. Software Requirements

  3. How to Purchase

  4. Protecting Your Laptop

  5. Protecting Your Work

  6. Support for Your Laptop

Computer Specifications

It is important that laptops for the required programs meet the minimum specifications provided below so that you will be able to run the required software, participate in course activities and projects, and prepare and display presentations.

Apple MacBook Pro

  • 15” 2.2 GHz with Retina Display 
  • 2.2 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 
  • 16GB 1066 MHZ DDR3 SDRAM 
  • 256 GB Flash Based Storage 
  • Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (to connect to our CCS network)

Listed at $2,138 on the Apple Store for Education website (June 2015)

Software Requirements

Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) or Office 365:

  • Available for free for students with a CCS username and password. Go to Click on the tab for “Students” and follow the directions from there. 

Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription:

  • $120.00 a year (50% off of Adobe student pricing!) for all CCS students.
    • You will need your CCS username and password to purchase Creative Cloud at this price.
    • Go to: and click on the “Start Shopping” button.
    • Enter your CCS username and password; select “student” for your status and Log in.
    • Click on the Adobe icon to begin your purchase. Your subscription is renewable each year at this special CCS price.

Adobe Font Folio Education Essentials 11.1:

  • Required for all students enrolled in DGD 151, Typography I, as well as all other Graphic Design and Advertising students. 
  • Graphic Design and Advertising students will continue to use this package in DGD 152, Typography II and all other Graphic Design and Advertising classes. 
  • $150.00 at 

Antivirus Software: 

  • It is highly recommended to run up-to-date antivirus software regularly.

How to Purchase

This product is available at the online Apple Store for Education (, any Apple Store location, or Best Buy.

Protecting Your Laptop

CCS recommends that you carry the maximum warranty protection available for your laptop. For your MacBook Pro, we strongly recommend the AppleCare 3-year protection plan, as it covers your laptop against all defects and most mechanical issues; it provides onsite or phone service and support as well as global service, parts and labor for all covered needs. It does not cover loss or physical damage. It is not unusual to experience at least one failure or need for repair in 3 years, such as a hard drive failure, graphics card failure, an issue with your screen or with the laptop case. The labor and parts for such repairs are covered under extended warranties, saving you time, money, and frustration. In addition, we recommend carrying personal property insurance or adding your laptop to your parents’ or your own homeowners’ or renters insurance to cover damage, theft, or loss.

Protecting Your Work

Students with laptops should also have an External Hard Drive with a minimum of 1 Terabyte of storage. We strongly recommend keeping your External Hard Drive in a consistent, clean environment (such as your desk) and that you back up your laptop once a day and that you do not carry your External Hard Drive around with you in a back pack or other case and use it continually to access files. This will help to extend the life of your External Hard Drive and protect against file corruption or crashing your Drive. When connecting the Hard Drive you are using for back up for the first time, format it as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). If you will be using your Hard Drive to share files between a Mac and a PC, format it as Fat32.

Support for Your Laptop

The Academic Technologies Department has technicians available Monday - Thursday 8:30 a.m. -10:00 p.m. and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for students who are seeking technical help with their Apple laptop. If your issue requires repair, Academic Technologies will refer you to area authorized service centers.

Please Note: Students are required to keep software and operating updated at least yearly to remain compatible with CCS lab machines, rendering computers, output equipment, and other campus technologies.

Policies Governing Laptop Use at CCS

Contact Us

Office of Academic Technologies

T. 313.664.7818
F. 313.664.1504 

Director of Academic Technologies
Laurie Evans

T. 313.664.1501

Computer Req Cover


Why is an Apple MacBook Pro Required?

The laptop is a core creative tool for research, design, and production, and in the creative industry Apple is the dominant computer system. We require a MacBook Pro to help our students remain flexible and poised to participate in cutting edge education and to facilitate a more interdisciplinary and collaborative educational experience.

Working with Macs now will assure a seamless transition from student to professional. Because of Apple’s long history of being the “designer’s computer,” it has focused on improving the entire workflow experience, particularly when handling graphics, color and fonts. Further, there are a significant number of useful tools for designers that are built into the Mac operating system.

Easily Share and Collaborate
Apple has created an ecosystem of devices and services that work seamlessly together. Students and faculty alike can easily share and sync files in real-time, an increasingly important part of the design process. A student can develop a prototype on their MacBook Pro, test and share those files on the iPhone and iPad and ultimately present to the class using Apple TV.

An Integrated Approach
Unlike other computer platforms, Apple is unique in that it designs and supports both the hardware and the software (operating system), thus creating the entire user experience. This integrated approach allows for an incredibly reliable platform which maximizes user experience and performance. While core software runs similarly on a Mac or a PC at a similar price point, this is only one component in your learning experience. With all the students working with the same hardware and software the learning experience is placed on a level field. When the instructor discusses a feature or requests a certain method it will be consistent on all the students’ computers.

Where Do I Go for Technical Assistance for my Laptop?

When you have a problem and deadlines need to be met it is important to know that CCS and Apple have people who know your system. CCS has staff to aid you, who are trained in the MAC operating system and can help you with a variety of issues. Additionally, Apple has impressive and consistently highly rated customer service and product reliability.

If a technical issue is beyond the skills of the CCS technology staff, you can take your laptop to one of the many Apple stores or Apple certified service centers in the metro Detroit area or call Apple Support through your Apple Care Protection Plan.

Where Do I Go for Help in Using my Laptop?

If you need help in learning how to use the Apple Operating system or other aspects of your Mac laptop, ask your instructor for guidance. Your instructor will be able to work with you or pair you up with another student in your department, further enhancing our collaborative learning environment. If you need help using any software for your work, you may also visit the Student Success Center, where Peer Tutors are available to work with you.

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